Raspberry Debacle

15 August, 2007

Chocolate Raspberry Crumble Cake

Filed under: cake, dessert, fruit, gluten-free, summer, vegetarian — Holly @ 12:09 pm

Chocolate raspberry crumble cake, seen from above

Chocolate makes everything seem nicer. Stealing £140,000 worth of an unspecified product: pretty nasty. Stealing £140,000 worth of chocolate flakes: well, quite endearing, at least superficially. Stealing £140,000 worth of chocolate flakes and then offering them to ice-cream sellers: positively charming.

This seems to be a fairly consistent rule. A seven-metre-high scrambled egg sculpture would be repulsive. Make it out of chocolate, and suddenly it’s fine (although having a sculpture “modelled after the Rockefeller Center, Empire State Building and Chrysler Building in the United States” does, sadly, seem to mean “er, shaped like a big rectangle”). Squirrels stealing pieces of dog flesh: slightly alarming. Squirrels stealing chocolate eggs: delightful. And if you’re approached by cocoa bean thieves trying to sell $150,000 worth of beans, of course it’s going to be more exciting and less scary than if they were trying to sell you $150,000 worth of stolen TVs.

One of my favourite chocolate stories is set centuries ago, in the 1600s. Spanish colonists in Mexico had a habit of drinking hot chocolate everywhere, even in church, but their bishop — perhaps understandably — wasn’t too keen: sure, a few popes had decided that chocolate wasn’t a food, as long as it was drunk in water instead of being mixed with milk or eggs or chickpeas (chickpeas!), but that didn’t mean it wouldn’t distract from the sermon. The bishop banned chocolate in his church; the colonists responded by trooping off to another church; the bishop responded by excommunicating them; they, in turn, responded by killing him with a cup of poisoned hot chocolate. (Allegedly.) Somehow the mere presence of chocolate makes this a friendlier, if no less murderous, incident. And sure, the Aztecs sacrificed a lot of people to a lot of gods — but then they settled down with a nice mug of hot chocolate afterwards, so they can’t have been all that bad.

I’m not advising you to embark on a new career as a thief, or to begin sacrificing passers-by to Tezcatlipoca, but if by chance you’ve already started and you’re looking for a way to appease your horrified friends, you could do worse than bringing them a slice of this cake. It really is very nice.

Chocolate raspberry crumble cake, from the side

Chocolate Raspberry Crumble Cake
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate, diced small
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1/3 cup cocoa
1/3 cup ground nuts (that’s “nuts that have been ground”, not groundnuts; hazelnuts, almonds and peanuts are all good)
2/3 cup flour (gluten-free is fine)
1 teaspoon baking powder (gluten-free is fine)
pinch salt
3 tablespoons white sugar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 cup raspberries
1/4 cup chopped nuts

Preheat the oven to 160 C, then grease and flour a nine-inch cake tin.

For the cake base, melt the butter and the chocolate in a saucepan over a low heat. Allow to cool for five aminutes before stirring in the cocoa. Whisk to remove lumps, then stir in the sugar, vanilla, and eggs.

Pour the mixture into the base of the cake-tin, and put it in the oven for ten minutes.

Use that ten minutes to prepare the topping. Melt the butter; then allow it to cool for a minute while you mix the cocoa, ground nuts, flour, sugars, baking powder and salt. Pour the butter over the dry mixture and stir it in.

After the cake has been cooking for ten minutes, take it out and lay the raspberries on top carefully. There should be a slight crust by now that prevents the raspberries from sinking to the bottom.

Sprinkle the crumble topping over the raspberries (you mave have to crumble it up a bit with your hands as you do so), and then sprinkle the chopped nuts over the top of that and return the cake to the oven for another half-hour.

Can be served warm or at room temperature.


  1. Are you using unsweetened or semisweet chocolate for the base?

    Comment by Janice Lee — 17 August, 2007 @ 9:26 pm

  2. Tut, that was careless of me — I used semi-sweet. I’ll edit the recipe to correct that, thanks.

    Comment by Holly — 18 August, 2007 @ 9:33 am

  3. Mmm, pass that packet of chocolate chickpeas!!

    Fantastic post - I love the idea that if I have embarked on a sideline career of theft or mass-murder, this cake can make it all better and soothe my friends’ troubled minds. Not that I have plans in that direction, you know. But it’s the kind of household hint that I like. Beats Martha Stewart every time :o)

    Comment by Jeanne — 30 August, 2007 @ 9:58 am

  4. This looks divine - my mouth is literally watering. I have some raspberries that need using up… This is seriously tempting. I love the story about the stolen flakes too! Absolutely true that chocolate does make everything seem nicer - the first time I actually enjoyed a courgette (now a much-loved staple in the veg rack) was as part of a ‘chocolate courgette cake’. Sounds horrible but is, in fact, a fantastic recipe!

    Comment by Antonia — 31 August, 2007 @ 10:09 am

  5. Wow! That looks really delicious. I love the stolen flakes story too.

    Comment by Caty — 9 September, 2007 @ 7:52 pm

  6. Looks very good. I like the chocolate and raspberry flavor together.

    Comment by sharona May — 15 November, 2007 @ 11:05 pm

  7. I tried this recipe today and I must have done something wrong because appart from looking nothing like the picture, the cake tastes awful… Has anyone else tried this cake? What kind of cocoa did you use? I used all natural unsweetened cocoa but the cake tastes so bitter, the topping is so dry and uncrumble-like that I wonder if another kind should be used.
    I am not an experienced baker so I could have done something else wrong… Any advice would be welcome… Thank you!

    Comment by Sara — 9 February, 2009 @ 4:23 am

  8. Oh dear! I can’t think of anything off-hand - it’s been a year or two since I made this, so next time I’ve got a cake to make I’ll try doing it again, to see what happens. Looking through the recipe now, though, and comparing to my notes, it seems like it ought to be okay.

    Unsweetened cocoa is right, so it can’t be that. Did you maybe use half a stick of butter instead of half a cup, for the crumble? No idea about the bitterness of the cake, I’m afraid, it really shouldn’t be with those prortions of sugar+cocoa. I don’t know if anyone else has tried the whole recipe, but a couple of people have tried out the base cake and it worked for them - I don’t know whether you might have accidentally put in less sugar, or more cocoa?

    Sorry to hear it didn’t work out, anyway, and thanks for letting me know - I’ll try the recipe again to see if it works for me, or if there’s something wrong in the recipe that I accidentally corrected without noticing when I made it myself.

    Comment by Holly — 9 February, 2009 @ 10:42 am

  9. Thanks for replying so promptly!
    I think next time I try this recipe I will first properly convert all the measurements to grams… I think that must have been the problem - I must have got some quantity wrong. I am not giving up on this cake yet! :-)
    By the way, I hated the thought of throwing the whole thing away, so I scrapped the topping off and cut the base into little squares. They taste very intense, but are perfect with coffee - like chocolate bonbons!

    Comment by Sara — 10 February, 2009 @ 12:17 am

  10. I absolutely LOVE this recipe, I’ve tried it a couple of times and it’s worked out perfectly… it’s so rich and it looks beautiful. Chocolate and raspberries, amazing combination!

    Comment by Charlotte — 20 February, 2009 @ 9:28 pm

  11. Charlotte - oh, excellent, I’m glad it worked out for you - thanks for letting me know.

    Sara - I’ve tried the recipe again just now, following it exactly, and it seemed to work for me. Did you maybe add only one of the types of sugar, instead of both brown and white? Or forget to melt the butter? If not, mm, I do think the most likely problem was in the translation of measurements (which is always a treacherous sort of thing), and that you probably ended up with half a stick of butter (around 60 grams) instead of half a cup (around 110-120 grams). I should really get used to giving measurements in grams - I just didn’t have any kitchen scales for so long, so I’m still getting used to the idea of thinking in weight.

    I’m glad you managed to salvage something out of the base, anyway.

    Comment by Holly — 20 February, 2009 @ 10:47 pm

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